Like Alice Through the Looking Glass, I tumbled into a new and magical world filled with new avenues to explore. Before entering this world, I was an elementary/middle years teacher. I was offered an opportunity to embrace an adventure and enter into the adult educational setting as an Adult 12 instructor.
Seven years ago, I walked into a dusty basement classroom filled with books, wooden desks, and a large black chalkboard. I had entered the arena of Adult 12 with one week until students were going to show up ready to learn. The adventure began on that day and continues to amaze me.
Flash forward to the current day, my classroom is in a shiny new building filled with movable tables, new chairs, and a large white Smartboard. My classroom has evolved into a blended learning environment with mostly face-to-face instruction. Every day remains filled with bustling activity, eager students, and the excitement of learning.
One thing that I have discovered is that there are many similarities between the two worlds. No matter their age, students are filled with nervousness, excitement, and curiosity. The pathways to engaging the adult students’ curiosity are in many ways the same as when I was teaching middle years. They are active learners who enjoy humor and interactive lessons. I am always seeking new ways to encourage students to enter the world of learning with increasing levels of confidence and enjoyment. By ensuring that the environment, curriculum, and teaching are reflective of students’ prior knowledge and interests, motivation and engagement are enhanced.
Over the last few years, my classroom has increasingly become a blended learning environment where technology is central to interactions with my students. Laughter and amazement rang out in the classroom when I shared photos and videos of living microorganisms with students who were attending remotely and in person. After viewing, they used the gathered pond water to continue exploring. They were fascinated with using the microscopes and seeing the creatures dart across the image. Doing these types of lessons has opened doors for all students, no matter the method of attendance. I know that there is still much that I can be doing to make these lessons stronger and build upon the seeds of what I have started.
The three goals that I have for learning in this classes are focused on developing stronger skills at connecting with students:
- Enhance my existing skills at developing online modules for learning and understanding how I can utilize media effectively.
- Gain new skills with unfamiliar technology that I can utilize and adapt within my classroom, and teach students to become e-learners who are adept at interacting appropriately with the digital world.
- Build relationships with a larger community of educators, so we can learn from each other now and in the future. To further that along, I invite you to follow me on Twitter!
— Patricia Ives (@patricia_ives) January 16, 2022